Re: Is white racism nec. all bad?

Donald Edwards (
28 Apr 1995 22:23:58 -0700

Robert Hartman ( wrote:

"OK. Let's look at the process.

Sure, let's.

"Would you say that systematic denial of education is a form of oppression?

Yep. Where is that happening?

"Have you looked into the conditions at inner-city and minority schools?

As it happens, I have. *AFTER* adjusting for inflation, they spend
more per school-age child (not just "student") per annum than was
necessary to provide a *GOOD* education in the 1950s.

Look at the process, not just the result. Whatever is imposing the
"systematic denial of education", it is not the tax system and it is
not our society as a whole.

"I'm not just talking about the violence. Things were bad 20 years ago
"before that got so bad.

Yet you could *depend* *on* a better education in a black high school
graduate in the 1950s, before we passed laws to (supposedly) stop
the oppression, than you can *depend* *on* in a high school graduate
of *any* color in the 1990s.

"AA is meant to address the process.

But does it? If it produces a net improvement in the process, it should
produce an improvement in the result. Right? Where's the improvement?

More specifically, what -- in the 1950s -- were the problems with
the system? Does AA in fact address them?

Brown vs. Board of Education was a black family who wanted to send their
children to the *neighborhood* school, rather than clear across town
to an all-black school.

Thanks to the Brown family's victory, black families today cannot send
their children to the *neighborhood* school, but must instead send
them clear across town to a mixed-race school.

It is assumed that the original problem was "all-black"; the Browns
were protesting against "clear across town". The report "Politics,
Markets, and American Schools" shows that the Browns had correctly
picked their target. But Affirmative Action not only does nothing
about the problem, it imposes the problem in cases where the
problem formerly did not exist.

" To the extent that it fails to
"do that, it is because you can't measure "process" in any objective way.
"You can only measure results.

">(Interesting figure: the lowest income 20% of the population provide 7% of
">full-time workers. The highest income 20% of the population provide
">29% of full-time workers. Hopefully it's no surprise that people
">who work, get more income than those who don't. But the fact that
">they do, seems to offend some people.)

"The fact that some people are marginalized by our educational system
"seems to be completely lost on some people. But I'll concede you this,
"I'll stop calling it "oppression" and call it "unfair marginalization"
"if you'll concede that the latter exists and is a real problem.

"Will you?

I don't have any problem with that at all. Of course, you may be
somewhat surprised by my solution. (Then again, you may not.)

I've never denied that our educational system is terrible. I just
don't see that it is singularly more terrible for *black* people
than for anyone else. (I'll agree that it is more terrible for
*poor* people... well, people who live in predominantly-poor
communities, that is...)